Creative Dundee

Blog: Breaking the Ice

Illustration: Robbie Kieran

How easing people into a space with a simple question can lead to genuine connection and a gentle spotlight.

Alongside hearing about people’s work and making space for discussion and conversation, icebreaker questions have become an integral part of our Amps Breakfasts—the weekly digital gatherings where our network comes together to connect with others who are invested in the positive impact of creativity on Dundee. Built into our intros, they ensure that we collectively hear everyone’s voice during the hour—even if they’re just sharing their favourite ice cream flavour! These questions help set the tone of our events, and give everyone the opportunity to take the floor with less pressure or expectation to perform, whilst giving us a little insight into each other’s thoughts, likes and lives. One of our Amps even made a celebratory mini-zine about them.

Coming up with a good icebreaker question takes care. Everyone should feel able to respond—the question doesn’t assume we’ve all shared the same experiences, and there’s no right or wrong answer. It shouldn’t be intimidating, nor poke to reveal anything too personal—someone should be able to share as much or as little as they like. Originality is nice (we haven’t yet asked people to choose between flight or invisibility) but there’s no harm in relying on easy options (“Dogs or cats? Tea or coffee?”) when folks are willing to be creative. Something that sparks more than one word in response makes for a joyous hint at someone’s personality, but something that prompts a lengthy story leaves less time for others to share. Then there’s making sure your query isn’t too strenuous for an early start—not everyone wants to get philosophical at 9am in the morning!

At the time of publishing this blog, we’ve hosted 84 online Amps Breakfasts since March 2020—which means we’ve gone through a whole lot of icebreaker questions! Here’s a sample of 25 of our favourites. Maybe you can use them the next time you need to break the ice in a digital or physical space.

Take your pick!

This blog is one of several celebrating Two Years of Virtual Amps Breakfasts. Breakfast is a weekly opportunity that brings together supporters of Creative Dundee’s Amps network to chat and connect. New faces are always welcome—join Amps and come along!

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Blog: Breaking the Ice

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